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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Democracy in Divided Societies (PLIT10099)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis Honours course addresses one of the major global challenges of the Twenty First Century: how to manage ethnic or plurinational diversity and prevent conflict in a democratic state context. Democracy in Divided Societies takes a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing upon political science, international relations, sociology, anthropology and law to explore the subject from a variety of perspectives. It moves from the question of what constitutes a divided society, to the origins of conflict in such places, to the processes of peace and reconciliation, to the forms of institutional design that can help manage differences and mitigate conflict, through to a critical appraisal of these approaches. The course is evenly balanced between theory and empirical case study, in order to allow students to apply their theoretical understandings to real world contexts, from South Africa to India, Northern Ireland to Sri Lanka.
Course description This course looks at the management of conflict through reconciliation, transitional justice and institution-building in post-conflict societies. It bridges two strands of literature: one set more rooted in IR theory which is primarily concerned with conflict resolution through understanding conflict, peace-making, peace-building, peace-keeping and reconciliation; and another strand which is more engaged with institution-building through institutional design in post-conflict societies. The course engages critically with both strands while also incorporating more contemporary critical approaches that apply a deliberative or gendered focus to conflict management. Although some of the lectures (and ensuing tutorials) will draw upon particular case-studies, most tutorials are broadly comparative and enable students to bring in cases from their preferred area of interest.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students will be able to demonstrate a deep understanding of the complex issues and contemporary theoretical and empirical debates surrounding the democratic governance of divided societies.
  2. Students will develop a comprehensive knowledge of the competing theoretical approaches to democracy in divided societies and be equipped to critically appraise, compare and contrast these perspectives.
  3. Students will acquire knowledge of a broad and diverse range of empirical case studies of divided societies and be able to apply relevant theoretical approaches to these cases.
  4. Students will display enhanced communication and transferable skills, including ability to engage in critical debate, to make effective oral and written presentations, to provide concise reports addressed to a wider non-academic audience and to work as part of a team.
  5. Students will be able to demonstrate enhanced research and analytical skills developed through guided research in preparation for assessments.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking and analysis
Effective research and analytical skills
Effective communication
Team work
Global citizenship
KeywordsDemocracy,conflict,post-conflict,divided societies
Course organiserDr Wilfried Swenden
Tel: (0131 6)50 4255
Course secretaryMiss Claire Buchan
Tel: (0131 6)50 8253
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